Have you ever gone an entire week or more feeling fatigued? And then more fatigued because of your frustration towards the fatigue? It can feel like a vicious cycle, one that even coffee can’t solve.
To understand what we can do to improve our energy levels, we first have to understand what causes this fatigue, and take actionable steps to change it. Age is not necessarily an indicator of energy levels. With the right tools, you could make a difference in your energy levels, today.
Fatigue can occur because of an underlying health condition, but in many cases, it can be due to something as seemingly harmless as a lifestyle choice.
To begin, let’s first evaluate your daily routine. Are you an early riser? A night owl? Do you move around throughout the day? Are your meals varied? How often are you in front of a screen? The combination of your actions and choices could very well be the cause of your fatigue. Now, let’s do something about it!
Sleep: Sleep is probably one of the most important things necessary to regulate body function. Without a proper REM cycle, your mood stabilization, memory, and overall daytime stamina. Sleep deprivation can be extremely frustrating, especially when you really need the rest. If you haven’t yet, two frequent pieces of advice for those suffering from a lack of sleep include:
- Removing all screens (phone, TV, etc) 1 hour before bedtime.
- Regulating the time of sleep, and the conditions of sleep each night.
Food: The right kinds of foods are meant to give you energy. However, eating junk food, or snacking when you’re not hungry can have a real effect on your energy levels. If you’ve ever experienced a “food coma,” you know what we mean. Oftentimes, it seems as though our stomachs do not signal to our brains that we’re full until it’s too late. This can result in feelings of sluggishness, bloating, and fatigue. What you can do:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water is extremely important for brain and bodily function. Additionally, we often think we are hungry when in fact we are thirsty.
- If you struggle with the quality of food you consume, don’t wait until you’re hungry to plan your meals. Deciding what you should eat in advance can help prevent you from choosing the foods which will drain your energy levels.
- Make sure to take your daily vitamins!
- Exercise: Exercising can be a daunting concept, especially for those who are just starting, or getting back into it. Truthfully though, you don’t have to sweat to get the endorphins exercise can provide. Going on a walk once a day can significantly increase your stamina, mood, and energy levels for the better.
- If you want to make it a little more challenging, consider walking with 1lb or 2lb weights to get a bit of natural tone in the arms.
- Meditation: Perhaps your energy is being spent on something undesirable. Worry, and fear can plague us all, and they can be quite draining at times. That’s why many people turn to meditation. This is another activity that can sound daunting to those who have never tried it before. And while it is a relaxing exercise, it can be a way to channel the stress and worry that might be bogging down your energy pathways. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable place, or lie down on the floor with your knees bent, close your eyes, and concentrate on breathing. See if you can clear your mind of any thoughts – good, or bad – and just be present. What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? Let your thoughts pass over you without judgment like clouds. Doing this in the morning before you check your email, and/or before bed can significantly help channel your unwanted energies.
- Routine: If something in your daily routine is no longer serving you, take small steps to change it. You do not need to make any concrete resolution about giving something up or adding something new, but a tiny change in habit can, over time, have a big impact. One thing at a time.
*Though this article is supported by research, it is purely a suggestion and not a diagnosis. If fatigue does persist for longer than expected, even with the varied changes in behavior, consult your doctor for additional assistance.